It was cold Sunday morning of December month of 2018. Me and my soul sister Atmiye Iram had planned to cover our programs Shiksha. We went to a school being run by group of youngsters for the under privileged by the name of “Meri Pathshala”. We reached there on time. The students were already present there in a good mood and in good number .ie. 30. The curious and smiling faces of kids gave us a sigh of relief. Earlier we had odd thoughts in the mind whether the children will be there or not, whether they will even give an ear to us, whether they will come in this cold weather or not but the delighted presence of students in a disciplined arrangement of rows and columns and a note on a slate as “Welcome team Guftgu” made us feel welcomed and relaxed. Mr. Nitesh Agarwal , one of the mentors was also there.
Mr. Nitesh as I will frame into words, is just like a father bird who pushes its child out of the nest to let it fly And stands on the back as a support. The team Meri Pathshala is also doing such work. The students’ creativity is being enhanced through different interactive activities like story telling sessions, debates and singing etc. The proceeding of our meeting started. Mr. Nitesh introduced us to the kids. We also told the students about our NGO and our motive of coming there. We had planned the discussion session, art session “Rang” by Mr. Kaushik Tayagi , story telling by Bhavna Kuntal, Guitar session by Mr. Asim bhai and Flute session by Mr. Anal Jha. It all started with the story telling by students. The barefooted students had a different glare in their eyes when they heard about our program.
First came Akashi who told a story in which she and her friends are going in a boat ride. While they were enjoying the ride, it broke into two parts. The climax is that they didn’t know how to swim.Suddenly they found a log in the water with which support they managed to come out of the river. As per Yeeshu, a chubby boy, there was a newness in his story. One day he got up with some magical powers. He used to become whatever he used to eat. If he ate tomato, he became a tomato. Seeing a tomato running here and there, monkeys came after him. Then to escape himself from monkeys, he ate a carrot. Eating carrot turned him into a carrot. A Rabbit felt tempted to eat the carrot. To save his life from the rabit, he ate another thing. This way, he kept eating several things in order to escape. He got tired in this eat and escape race. He wanted to come back into his real avatar. But he didn’t know how to. An idea clicked his mind. He ate his photo and hence turned himself into himself. He loved to back into his real avatar.
Then came Anubhav, a smart petite boy. He told us a story in which he used to make fake chocolates which had electric currents on touch. Once he himself touched it by mistake and faced the same current. He realized his mistake and discarded the fake chocolate.The session continued with the folk songs, motivational songs by the kiddos. Two girls also did mimicry of the act from a famous comic serial “Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain”. The time spent was so encouraging,amusing and positive that we and students got actively engaged. Meanwhile, our team member Bhavna also told a story of Bhasmasur followed by a motivational song singing by Anal Jha.
The guitar and flute sessions of Mr. Anal and Mr. Asim were like cherry on the cake. Mr. Kaushik opened the colour boxes and a blank canvas among students. We told them to paint their feelings on the canvas. At first, two –three kids came forward and painted a peacock in the centre, the entrance of Meri Pathshala on one side and it continued with variety of ideas and blend of colors. I noticed few students only chose dark colors. The flute and guitar kept doing their mesmerizing roles. The environment was full of zeal and enthusiasm.
We left from there although neither of us wanted to leave. While coming home, I realized that although they have blackish white fabric walls and no white smart screen, cotton mats and no wooden or fancy desks to sit, running water taps and no filtered water, strong knowledge and no WIFI but their creativity and imagination skills have no bounds. Education has different meanings there and I was proud to meet them. I wish that our education system or the syllabus needs to be less book-oriented and more creativity-oriented.
To know more about Meri Pathshala, please visit their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/agrwal2610kardam/?ti=as